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Is my 26 inch grinder obsolete?

Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Is my 26 inch grinder obsolete?

Old 02-10-19, 07:55 AM
  #1  
thehammerdog
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Is my 26 inch grinder obsolete?



At the 2018 mt man biathlon
I love the bike and just went to 1.5 tires Conti's hope to ride it today in the cold NWNJ area. It is fun and easy to ride but when I go up against true 700 c bikes I get smoked the thing is heavy and wheels rim style brakes or difficult to find and not cheap. I do plan on using it in my 2019 gravel grinder events but almost feel out of place. Am I alone in the 26 inch world of graveling
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Old 02-10-19, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
"I love the bike"... "It is fun and easy to ride"... "Am I alone in the 26 inch world of graveling"
If you are having fun riding the bike, enjoy the uniqueness of your rig! You may be a little slower than you would be on bigger wheels, but you there are probably people on most rides that you can hang with. There's plenty of new and used 26" wheels and tires out there if you look around. Same for canti brakes and pads.

There is at least one guy in south Georgia regularly riding gravel on an old 26er. I rode with him at the Sasquatch Ride in Flovilla, GA in November and will be attending the Wild Chicken 100 in Fitzgerald, GA that he is organizing.

sq011 by Benny Watson, on Flickr
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Old 02-10-19, 09:57 AM
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It depends on you. If you like it and have fun, that's all that really matters. The 700 combo did not smoke you, the rider did. Yes, he/she may have slightly better roll-over, but it may be the whole package ... Gearing, tire choice, weight, clip-in and leg power.

You can go to V brakes for less expensive parts and more stopping power. Some nice used Mavic Crossland wheels and a Deore lightweight cog set will shave a few lb off the total weight. Pick your tires carefully for fast rolling and lower weight (with decent puncture resistance) and you'll be fine.

Sure you can step up to a replacement bike. But think that over carefully. It may be a big investment. Look at all the others when riding and see if you can spot what might work better for you ... See if you can get a test ride on that model adjusted for you at a shop. Then, if you get it, see if you are still not getting out run by some others ... Happened to me all the time, back in the day on club rides. I'm just not a competitive rider. Just like running, some people are faster ...
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Old 02-10-19, 10:23 AM
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If you're there for fun--run what ya brung.

If you're in it to win it and be competitive in a race...then you will have problems.
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Old 02-10-19, 12:16 PM
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Like the others said, depends on why you ride.
I find 700c is faster on road like conditions but I can lead on loose pack or single track with 26" but so much of that depends on the rider.

Also, 700c gravel is just a fad now like 29 and 27.5 were, like double road cranksets became triples and now single. Yeah they are each nice in a way but in 5 years there will be a "new" standard everyone feels a need to rush to and that "in" bike will be "out". Eventually all those fads wear thin and you are left riding what works for you both performance wise and economically.

Ps. Great looking bike

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Old 02-10-19, 12:36 PM
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I always say....stay close to the keg.....
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Old 02-10-19, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
It is fun and easy to ride but when I go up against true 700 c bikes I get smoked the thing is heavy and wheels rim style brakes or difficult to find and not cheap. I do plan on using it in my 2019 gravel grinder events but almost feel out of place. Am I alone in the 26 inch world of graveling
1- of course its obsolete- it's a quarter century old 26" gravel bike in 2019. Obsolete means no longer produced or used and out of date. Besides you and a smattering of people who did drop bar conversions on old mtbs, gravel bikes arent 26".
2- if the gearing works for you, then you are getting smoked because those riders are stronger/faster than you. It isnt the bike tire size's fault.
3- 26" rim brake wheelsets are seemingly limitless still. Absolutely plentiful in all ranges of quality and price. If you cant find what you want, polish your search skills or accept that products cost more than you may want to spend(I would disagree that none are affordable). Also, how often are you needing a new wheelset for this to actually matter?



with all that said, it's a nice looking bike and if it fits you then ignore that its a different wheel size than most other bikes.
rim brakes can stop perfectly well(i use cantis) and are lighter than a disc setup. So smile knowing that you are saving grams compared to disc.
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Old 02-10-19, 02:16 PM
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I've got a steel CX bike from the mid-late 90's (not super sure of the exact age).

It's 700c, basic cross geometry, short chain stay, canti's. 22-23 lbs depending on my mood.

I don't get smoked on it. I usually pass others on it. Mine isn't set up remarkably different than yours and is equally obsolete. I am 100 percent certain that I'd finish most of my rides waaaay slower on yours. I can't imagine riding hard for hours on a converted concerted old skool mtn bike.

It's not the age of the bike in your case, I think it's the design.

It's probably better for lower speed more technical riding and bike packing.
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Old 02-11-19, 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
Is my 26 inch grinder obsolete?
In the sense that 26" wheels are no longer widely used on quality new bikes designed for off-pavement use, sure.

It is fun and easy to ride but when I go up against true 700 c bikes I get smoked the thing is heavy
Old-school MTB framesets do tend to be pretty heavy, and their geometry can be pretty weird for road-esque builds.

But if you're "getting smoked" compared with folks on current drop-bar gravel bikes, there's either something seriously non-optimal with the build, or the other riders are just much stronger than you. When I bring my drop-bar '84 Stumpjumper to rides with folks of similar ability on modern bikes, it's a competent performer.



If it's in good working order, provides you with the postures you need, has the gearing you need for the riding you're doing, and if the tires you've chosen are appropriate and fast, it really shouldn't be holding you back all that much.

and wheels rim style brakes or difficult to find
What in particular are you having trouble finding?

High-end and/or tubeless rim-brake 26er rims are getting slim, but plenty of low-end wheels are still available new, as are a number of competent rims.

The market certainly isn't as good as it is for 29er or 650b, but the size isn't horribly obscure just yet. A few manufacturers are still spec'ing rim-brake 26er wheels on new low-end MTBs, such as the Trek 820. And there are enough old 26ers out there that tire selection is still reasonable.

I'm actually building a new wheelset for my Stumpy right now. It's nothing fancy, but my current wheelset is bottom-end and ultra-heavy, so it should save a tangible amount of weight and have much better bearings.
I'm using 36H silver Sun Rhyno Lite rims, 36H silver Deore XT T780 hubs, and Sapim Laser spokes. Hubs+rims+spokes+nipples are about 2000g for the set; it's no featherweight wheelset, but the weight isn't catastrophic either, and the parts weren't terribly expensive considering that they were bought separately. With skewers and tape and tubes and my 53mm tires, they should end up a little over 7lbs.
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Old 02-11-19, 11:02 AM
  #10  
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OP, check out this thread, if you haven't already:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...nversions.html
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Old 02-11-19, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Squeeze View Post
OP, check out this thread, if you haven't already:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...nversions.html
Thanks guys I do love the bike had the old rockadille striped painted and built it all myself.....but heavy smooth on the roads and great on dirt but I give up 10 pounds to most people and the components are good for 1994 7 speeds rock
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Old 02-13-19, 09:12 AM
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7 speed? Wow, might be a little older? I have an early '90s scott mountain bike that does great on gravel. It was a light weight mountain bike, so probably weighs 24lbs. Its got fairly modern gravel geometry, probably on the aggressive side (short head tube).

My biggest problem is finding decent tires and wheels. Most of the good stuff has migrated to 27.5 or 29" leaving behind cheap commuter tires or heavy duty touring tires. Nothing much that I would enjoy on a long gravel race. I stocked up a bit on 26" closeouts, but not sure if I'll have any tire options after that.
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Old 02-13-19, 05:03 PM
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Yeah, the tire thing is getting a bit iffy. But I have a stock of Ritchy Team Race tires from wheel buys, so I'm good for a while
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Old 02-13-19, 05:35 PM
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I really don't think the tire situation has gotten that bad yet. Offerings aren't as varied as for 650b and 700c, but you can still get some of Schwalbe and Conti's higher-end XC tires in 26". And for fat supple slicks, Compass are phenomenal.
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Old 02-15-19, 01:09 PM
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Yeah, there are pretty good options for 26" rims and tires yet. There are other standards that are far more "obsolete."

My hunch as to the OP's problem is that his tire choice is letting him down. Perhaps the wheels themselves are also heavier than ideal, or the fit is off. Drop-bar MTBs can pose challenges for fit, and we all know that fit issues can rob power output.

Basically, everything that @HTupolev said.
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Old 02-16-19, 01:35 PM
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It's just not new and promoted as trendy , like 650B/27.5..

Do you feel great shame if not _... "keeping up with the Jonses" ?







...

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Old 02-16-19, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Like the others said, depends on why you ride.
I find 700c is faster on road like conditions but I can lead on loose pack or single track with 26" but so much of that depends on the rider.

Also, 700c gravel is just a fad now like 29 and 27.5 were, like double road cranksets became triples and now single. Yeah they are each nice in a way but in 5 years there will be a "new" standard everyone feels a need to rush to and that "in" bike will be "out". Eventually all those fads wear thin and you are left riding what works for you both performance wise and economically.

Ps. Great looking bike
So true in so many ways. Iím sure we havenít seen the end of 26Ē wheels and triple cranksets. IMO 650B was just the manufacturers way of bringing back the 26Ē wheel albeit in a slightly different way.
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Old 02-16-19, 06:47 PM
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I'm doing my part, one old rigid mtb frame at a time

Just a gratuitous pic but with a kernel of truth within. Recent snow and now melt has left this trail system either slushy or with a slick muck layer that most 700c tires wouldn't be able to negotiate (or at least I couldn't with them). 26" with 2.10 just managed with a moderate amount of slewing so there are conditions where fatter tires win out. Again, there is no way these are faster than 700c on good gravel so its sort of a horses for courses thing.


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Old 02-17-19, 11:52 AM
  #19  
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Was riding recently with a guy 10+ years my senior on a bike similar to yours and he smoked me all day long, and I'm on a "modern" gravel rig
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Old 02-17-19, 12:11 PM
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I doubt anything is obsolete until it's broken beyond repair and even then re-purpose kicks in.
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Old 02-25-19, 05:27 PM
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Have fun and ride

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Old 02-26-19, 10:39 AM
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After Compass started selling the 2.2" Rat Trap Pass tires I've been thinking that 26" is ideal. I started to envy Ms Cools lavender 26" Polyvalent after watching Henrywildeberry's youtube video channel. Here's a fantastic bike wheel and tire visual calculator showing why this set-up is better than the alternatives, by which I mean large-diameter, lightweight, plush, low-pressure tubeless, and fast.

https://bikecounterculture.com/2017/...er-calculator/

This tire and wheel combo is the same diameter as a 650b x 42mm, same as 700c x 23mm. I'm inclined to buy a Surly Midnight Special frame and run 26 x 2.2 for road, and then swap out the wheels for big-nobby 650b x 2.2 which would raise the bottom bracket and turn it into a drop-bar mountain bike.

Ms Cools Polyvalent:

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Old 03-02-19, 08:29 AM
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There are different types of obsolescence.

What you have is technically obsolete. There are (arguably) more advanced designs, materials, and manufacturing that enable better suspension, braking, shifting, ergonomics, etc.

An object becomes functionally obsolete when it is no longer possible or practical to maintain functionality. For instance, I have a 6 year old laptop that I can no longer find replacement batteries, processor chips, or screens if anything goes wrong. I can still surf the web and type emails to grandma, so although it was technically obsolete the day I bought it (it wasn’t the most powerful model in the lineup), it will become functionally obsolete when the parts to repair it are no longer available.

While your bike is technically obsolete (there may be better tools for the job), it is nowhere near functionally obsolete (it is an acceptable tool for the job). All of the parts you need to maintain it are readily available. I would even say that it is cheaper to maintain and easier to repair that what is currently available.
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Old 03-02-19, 08:55 PM
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There are also ways to tweak a 26". I just ordered a cassette and body to switch my 1992 KHS Montana Comp from 7 speed 13/28 to 8 speed 11/40 and there are a few decent gravel tires still around. The hardest component has been a flared handlebar in 22.2 for older stems but you can get 31.8 conversions for that as well.
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Old 03-04-19, 10:07 AM
  #25  
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I do love riding the old steed fun practical goes everywhere safe simple comfy but once on paved roads and when up against newer lighter bikes u get smoked. An excellent do every thing bike even single track. But i give away 10lbs of bike and gearing. But a cool bike. I want to upgrade the wheels but finding decent affordable 26 inch non disc wheels us difficult
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